Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Bioinformatics and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Identification and correction of abnormal, incomplete and mispredicted proteins in public databases

Alinda Nagy, Hédi Hegyi, Krisztina Farkas, Hedvig Tordai, Evelin Kozma, László Bányai and László Patthy*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Enzymology, Biological Research Center, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, H-1113 Budapest, Hungary

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Bioinformatics 2008, 9:353  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-9-353

Published: 27 August 2008

Abstract

Background

Despite significant improvements in computational annotation of genomes, sequences of abnormal, incomplete or incorrectly predicted genes and proteins remain abundant in public databases. Since the majority of incomplete, abnormal or mispredicted entries are not annotated as such, these errors seriously affect the reliability of these databases. Here we describe the MisPred approach that may provide an efficient means for the quality control of databases. The current version of the MisPred approach uses five distinct routines for identifying abnormal, incomplete or mispredicted entries based on the principle that a sequence is likely to be incorrect if some of its features conflict with our current knowledge about protein-coding genes and proteins: (i) conflict between the predicted subcellular localization of proteins and the absence of the corresponding sequence signals; (ii) presence of extracellular and cytoplasmic domains and the absence of transmembrane segments; (iii) co-occurrence of extracellular and nuclear domains; (iv) violation of domain integrity; (v) chimeras encoded by two or more genes located on different chromosomes.

Results

Analyses of predicted EnsEMBL protein sequences of nine deuterostome (Homo sapiens, Mus musculus, Rattus norvegicus, Monodelphis domestica, Gallus gallus, Xenopus tropicalis, Fugu rubripes, Danio rerio and Ciona intestinalis) and two protostome species (Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster) have revealed that the absence of expected signal peptides and violation of domain integrity account for the majority of mispredictions. Analyses of sequences predicted by NCBI's GNOMON annotation pipeline show that the rates of mispredictions are comparable to those of EnsEMBL. Interestingly, even the manually curated UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot dataset is contaminated with mispredicted or abnormal proteins, although to a much lesser extent than UniProtKB/TrEMBL or the EnsEMBL or GNOMON-predicted entries.

Conclusion

MisPred works efficiently in identifying errors in predictions generated by the most reliable gene prediction tools such as the EnsEMBL and NCBI's GNOMON pipelines and also guides the correction of errors. We suggest that application of the MisPred approach will significantly improve the quality of gene predictions and the associated databases.